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Jessica Martin joins W&M Counseling faculty

Tell us a little about your background and what brought you to W&M.
I was born and (mostly) raised in Winston-Salem. NC. I say mostly because my father was in the military and we moved around quite a bit like all military families, but Winston-Salem was our home base. I have two younger brothers and I am a first-generation college graduate. I did my bachelor’s degree in Sociology at East Carolina University, my master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at Winston-Salem State University and my PhD in Counselor Education at University of Central Florida.

I have worked as a counselor for over 10 years focusing primarily on disability and African American populations. I currently teach in the online Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program here at William & Mary. What brought me here was the reputation of the program’s focus on social justice, which is an area that is very important to me and the opportunity to bring my background and knowledge of online pedagogy and community connection to the program. 

What’s your area of research and what question are you most passionate about answering right now?
My primary area of research focuses on post-secondary transition of Black youth with disabilities, specifically focusing on how entrepreneurial training can support these youth in having better vocational outcomes. My secondary area of research focuses on clinical interventions to support the outcomes of Black counseling clients. I have tons of questions that I am passionate about answering but if I had one big one it would be: What have we as counselors learned this year (2020) about the needs of Black people and how can we better support them outside of the traditional counseling modalities? 

What else are you hoping to get involved with on campus or in the community?
I am a distance faculty member (I live in TX) so I am hoping to find community with the W&M campus through this online space. While this year has certainly had its share of disappointments, one great thing that has happened is that we have all learned how to create community beyond face to face interactions. I love student organizations so I would love to be able to support and mentor students not only in our counseling program but across other fields and backgrounds as well.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I am excited for this new start in what seems to be very disappointing times. There is so much hope and change ready to be tapped into this year.